Over the past few weeks I have been working my way through My Life in France. Julia Child’s scintillating memoir was written with the help of her grandnephew just a few months prior to her death. Though the film Julie & Julia has led to a greater awareness of Child’s life work, she has always been a decidedly inspiring character, both in the kitchen and in life.
I was initially intimidated by the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but once I jumped in, I realized how truly simple they are. They are wholesome, made with real, fresh ingredients, and simply explained. Though Julia’s dishes seem impressive, they really are quite easy when you tackle them with “courage of conviction.” She makes it a breeze to approach the kitchen with vim and vigor.
After reading My Life in France, I’ve come to understand that Julia Child’s life was much the same. From the outside, it appears that her life was completely extraordinary. Living abroad for so many years, writing an authoritative cookbook, becoming a tremendous TV hit–it all seems rather incredible. And yet from the inside, within her memoir, I can see how simple her life really was. She gave her full energy to thoroughly enjoying every day. Though her adventures seem fantastic, they were merely the product of her zest for life. She had no fear in confronting whatever came next, no matter how overwhelming or enormous it seemed to be. Disappointments, though real, were interpreted as speed bumps rather than devastating disasters. Above all, she had fun.
There’s a lesson there. I hope to view my life as Julia Child viewed hers, as an adventure to be embraced with total and hilarious enthusiasm.